What is Litecoin (LTC): Complete Guide

What is Litecoin?

Litecoin (LTC) is one of the most significant and major 2nd generation cryptocurrencies in the crypto universe. Designed with the explicit intention of improving (and eventually surpassing) its own “father” Bitcoin, this cryptocurrency is considered by many “the prince of altcoins” due to its lofty roots, supported by its history and birth as a fork of Bitcoin. Moreover, it’s precisely these attributes that make this coin worthy of belonging to crypto’s nobility. 

Litecoin was born in the early days of October 2011, becoming the first altcoin officially. Conceived by the brilliant mind of Charles Lee – ex-Google employee and computer scientist – Lee was reportedly fascinated by cryptocurrencies since Bitcoin’s inception in 2009. He immediately perceived cryptocurrency’s dormant potential and, just as Bitcoin started receiving its first glimpses of notoriety – by starting circulating freely on the internet — he probed deeper and delved into the creation of a new cryptocurrency that would take inspiration on what he deemed the most important among Bitcoin’s positive features, while also implementing and improving on all the other aspects of the Orange Coin.

Litecoin is considered by many as Bitcoin’s closest “kin.”

Brief History of Litecoin

The steps Lee traced for Litecoin’s launch were akin to the path undertaken by Bitcoin’s founder Satoshi Nakamoto before him: Litecoin was announced in 2011 on Bitcointalk, the same forum conceived and launched by Satoshi in conjunction with Bitcoin’s creation and later launch.

The response to Litecoin’s presentation on Bitcointalk was almost immediately a favorable one from the community, which at the time consisted mainly of computer scientists and developers that actively worked on the improvement of the blockchain’s technology. 

As stated at the beginning of this article, Litecoin was the first distinct project sprouting from Bitcoin. The next digital currencies would come sometime after, their founders potentially tapping both the inspiration and boldness from Charles Lee’s first initiative. After Litecoin, Ripple was launched (in 2012), and – just two years after Litecoin’s onset- Ethereum made its appearance as well (in 2013). 

Charles Lee — Litecoin’s Founder

Litecoin’s glorious path hasn’t stopped as years passed, and, in most recent times, the Litecoin Foundation formed several partnerships that increased the coin’s real trading/market-utility. Here are some of the recent milestones achieved by Litecoin’s team:

  • 2018 — partnerships with Wirex and UFC232
  • 2019 — partnerships with Travala.com, Miami Dolphins and SafePal
  • 2020-partnerships with NEXO and LiteBringer

Given these historical facts and chronology, it wouldn’t be unfair to argue that Litecoin has probably strongly contributed to being the spark that initially ignited the primordial explosion, leading up to nowadays’ constellation of tokens & coins in the cryptocurrency universe. We could all agree that — while Bitcoin showed the way — the significant improvements, potential, and notoriety have become a modern reality via the creation of the subsequent altcoins. These, in turn, and as we know, led the charge towards the creation of a fully functional, unique, decentralized industry. 

Litecoin Technology and Advantages 

Reflecting Lee’s philosophy, Litecoin’s foundational “dogmas” behind its design and inner workings are strictly tied to Bitcoin’s principles. Just as with BTC, the Litecoin network aims to allow lightning fast transactions with cheap transaction costs. 

In analyzing the similarities between LTC and BTC, one shared feature (and probably the most important) is already quite apparent from the outline, and that is “The Halving.”

A moon-shaped, half-eclipsed Litecoin logo, created on the occasion of August 2019 Halving

Litecoin’s Halving, just like Bitcoin’s Halving, was devised to allow the autoregulation of the coin’s inflation by periodically:

  • halving the block rewards for each mined block
  • reducing the number of newly mined/minted LTCs that is flowing into the market

As with Bitcoin, Litecoin has a fixed total supply of 84.000.000 LTCs that’s been hard-coded into “its DNA.” Therefore, upon reaching that hard cap, the Litecoin network will stop minting new LTCs, potentially giving rise to the appreciation of the coin’s extrinsic value, as the remaining supply gets more and more scarce.

While the concept of Halving is a feature that draws fully from Bitcoin’s design, there is one aspect of divergence between LTC and BTC: the Litecoin network’s Halving does not increase the mining algorithm’s difficulty. This implies that mining pools’ fees need not be reset after any Halving event occurs because — contrary to what happens in Bitcoin’s network – the constant mining algorithm difficulty does not imply higher structure and energy costs to adapt. 

Another difference is related to Litecoin’s blockchain and its inherent transactions, which are handled by an open-source platform that utilizes Scrypt in its proof-of-work mining algorithm, compared to Bitcoin’s SHA-256 hash function (more on this below).

But what kind of improvements did Litecoin introduce, compared to Bitcoin? 

Charles Lee focused on 3 main aspects when conceiving Litecoin: speedsecurity, and quantity. Bitcoin had already been receiving its first parallel comparisons as “gold’s digital equivalent” — what Mr. Lee tried to achieve when conceiving Litecoin was to live up to similar expectations, trying to shape it as “silver’s digital equivalent.” 

A silvery rendered Litecoin’s coin

This is how he tackled these 3 key distinctive features:

Speed. As hinted earlier in the article, the Litecoin network is built on a mining system known as Scrypt, which incorporates the same mining algorithm as Bitcoin (known as SHA-256) but also integrates more automated calculations and removes the progressively increasing difficulty of mining operations, despite requiring more performing mining rigs and machines. 

Security. Security has been achieved with continuous updates, culminating with the most recent Litecoin Core v0.18.1 of June 2020. Recent updates aimed to reduce transaction costs by the scale of tens, at the same time adding a layer of security to the network, making it more efficient and streamlined than Bitcoin’s. 

Quantity. Litecoin’s total supply is hard-capped at 84.000.000 LTCs — 4x more than Bitcoin’s total supply. This same design is what allows block-time to be ¼ of Bitcoin’s network block time. That is, new blocks on the Litecoin network are mined every 2 and ½ minutes.

These features potentially led up to the “Altcoins’ Era” as we know it. The seed was planted for future altcoins (Ethereum above all) to see the possibility of improving Bitcoin’s foundational facets and adding functionalities and features that could be charged with real utility.

Is it all bed and roses? Are the advantages so clear-cut compared to Bitcoin? Or are there some cons to the above design? 

To answer, it’s important to better understand the Scrypt algorithm and the system on which the Litecoin network rests for its operability. It is an objective fact that the mining process is much simpler as a whole compared to Bitcoin’s.

But here comes both pros and cons. We’ve mentioned earlier that the machines needed to mine Litecoin need to be more powerful and more performing, favoring high-speed RAMs over CPU calculation power and establishing the prerequisite — for miners — to equip much more expensive systems, compared to Bitcoin’s mining rigs. This precondition, paired with the existing implementation of the LTC’s Scrypt system, guarantees network safety, significantly hoisting the network’s protection barriers against any modern web threats.

While this aspect well accomplishes to fulfill the desirable security features regarding Litecoin’s network, at the same time, it represents a disadvantage for miners. The higher cost structure related to the mining machines is coupled with lower profits for block-mining and transaction fees due to LTC’s lower pricing compared to Bitcoin’s and lower commission fees (almost 15 times lower).

Differently stated, this means that Litecoin’s network currently does not manage to incentivize mining in the same manner and just as effectively as Bitcoin Network due to the higher costs and unequaled, lower profits.

Perspective and Takeaways 

Given Litecoin’s historic and modern pivotal role in the crypto sphere, it seems very likely that its value will gradually keep growing, reflecting the fact that LTC is still (and will likely be in the future as well) among the top ten cryptocurrencies per market cap.

Litecoin’s mean prices in the past years have been very stable (establishing themselves around the ~ 55$ dollar mark), implicitly stating its solid position in the crypto sector.

Despite its innate vocation for stability, LTC’s growth is probabilistically prone to continue, especially if looking at the mid-long term, also aided by the bull winds blowing over the whole alts market. On top of these considerations, LTC’s low total capitalization (~ 4,4 billion USD) versus its almost equal daily traded volume’s amount (~3.7 billion USD) marks this coin’s market as a very active one when compared to most altcoins. 

These statistics seem to highlight that investors and stakeholders’ interest in LTC is very much alive, adding another piece of evidence that signals trust and growth potential for the coin in the future.

Litecoin’s Website

For anything, you need to know about LTC, visit the official Litecoin website.

Litecoin’s Twitter

To keep up with the latest updates from the Litecoin Foundation, follow them on Twitter.

Litecoin’s Telegram

Join the conversation on Telegram to stay up-to-date about the Litecoin Foundation and LTC.

Litecoin on BitcoinTalk & LitecoinTalk Forums

Get in touch and socialize with other members of the Litecoin community. Join the Forums at BitcoinTalk.com or LitecoinTalk.io.

How To Store and Manage LTC

LTC is compatible with numerous wallet providers, including Atomic Wallet, a secure and decentralized crypto wallet. Atomic Wallet gives you access to over 300 cryptocurrencies through a decentralized platform built on a sophisticated architecture that keeps your investments safe. On Atomic Wallet, you can conveniently manage, earn, stake, and buy many cryptocurrencies and build your investment portfolio. Install the user-friendly Atomic Wallet App now and manage and exchange your Litecoins (LTC) today.

Conclusion

Recently, Charles Lee tweeted about the coin’s most palatable and valuable features.

Charles’ Lee Tweet on December 21rst, 2020

Among the features listed by Lee:

– The high liquidity that supports trades on most exchanges.: aAs stated previously, LTC is indeed one of the oldest altcoins in circulation (since 2011), and this, in turn, guarantees that it’s listed on almost any exchange in the space.

– It’s the second-most ATMs integrated cryptocurrency in the world – obviously coming second after BTC – and this makes LTC even more liquid and tradeable.

– At launch, Paypal opened the door to cryptocurrency to more than 350,000,000 users throughout the world, and Litecoin is proudly in the batch of the four cryptocurrencies that have been included on Paypal’s cryptocurrency service. It’s not a stretch to say that Litecoin’s spike in value also benefited, rising from around the $65 mark to the actual $170, thus tripling its price.

– Grayscale Litecoin’s Trust (that is, Grayscale LTC’s Investment Fund) whose value had been assessed to be around $104,000,000 (and have soared thanks to the bull market peak).

– Fundamentals such as high-transaction volume (right now around daily transactions estimates report a bit more than 50,000 transactions per day) and no downtime in the last nine year.s, fFast and cheap transaction speed with a block-time around 2 minutes, and a transaction fee that ranges between 0,5-3 cents (making it 100 times cheaper than BTC’s).

Lee’s tweet could be considered the “exception that proves the rule,” though.: Litecoin does not often hit the headlines, at least not as often as the top two illustrious and more frequently featured cryptocurrencies. Yet, Litecoin will very likely hold its position as one of the most important coins in the panorama of the cryptocurrency market.

Despite its network being not as renowned as Ethereum or Bitcoin, LTC has had the merit of improving Bitcoin via the technical innovations introduced by its founder Charles Lee — and these, in turn, opened up the way to the cryptocurrency market as we know it today. Furthermore, Litecoin’s utility case is one of the closest (if not “the” closest) to possess the similar potential and practical application as Bitcoin, and it’s not to exclude that, thanks to all of LTC’s palatable features – among which we’ve identified security, speed and quantity — Litecoin will be playing a vital role as a store of value, becoming a fundamental means of exchange in the next future.

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